Master and Commander Discussion Questions

*SPOILERS* The following is a list of discussion questions relating to the first book in the Aubrey/Maturin series, Master and Commander. It is meant to be utilized after one has finished reading the entire book and contains spoilers fore and aft. Proceed with caution!

Master and Commander

  • Jack and Stephen meet in awkward circumstances; indeed it is very nearly a fatal encounter. What hints can you find in this scene of the friendship that will blossom between them?
  • What is the secret connection between Stephen Maturin and James Dillon? And why does Dillon so despise Jack?
  • The master of the Sophie, Mr. Marshall, has a secret as well. What is the official attitude of the Royal Navy towards homosexuality? How does it differ from Jack’s attitude, and Stephen’s?
  • Jack’s military judgment in the second half of the book seems to border on recklessness. What combination of motives explains his audacious attacks?
  • Mowett, the midshipman, fancies himself a poet. Are his artistic impulses out of place in the Royal Navy? Is his poetry any good?
  • For such a successful commander, Jack seems to have quite difficult relations with his commanding officers. Why should this be so?

Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Co.
Image: H.M.S. Sophie by Geoff Hunt.

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